Postgraduate study
This is the only MSc course based entirely on tumour immunology and is for those interested in both biotechnology careers and academia.
MSc Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent)
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£11,475 - Terms apply
International fees
£25,200 - Terms apply
Queen's Medical Centre



The biggest modern breakthrough for cancer treatment has been antibody therapies. An increasing number of biotechnology companies have antibody - or vaccine-based cancer therapies in development. This course aims to attract students interested in tumour immunology who wish to pursue a career either in industry (biotechnology) or academia.

Aims and objectives

  • Acquire a specialised knowledge in tumour immunology with particular reference to monoclonal antibody and cancer vaccines
  • Develop the critical and analytical power to evaluate scientific literature
  • Perform a scientific research project
  • Acquire the ability to communicate scientific results orally and in writing
  • Learn about business exploitation of cancer therapy

Innovative features of this course

  • The only MSc course based entirely on tumour immunology.
  • Students undertake a substantial research project, during which time they acquire a considerable amount of laboratory-based skills.
  • A module based entirely on scientific writing and the development of a business plan.
  • Individuals from industry lecture on the course.
  • It is suitable for graduates in life sciences, biomedical sciences and allied subjects, and also for people already in suitable employment who wish to improve and update their knowledge and experience.
  • This course attracts students from the UK and worldwide.

Course content

The course covers both antibody and vaccine cancer therapies and explores the immunology of the tumour host interface. In addition, students will learn about intellectual property and how to exploit scientific research in scientific writings, patents and in development of business plans applicable to the biotechnology industry. To gain practical experience in research, students will carry out a research project in the field of tumour immunology.


What our students say

I really enjoyed the course. At first I thought it might be too much of a challenge for me to catch up with everyone because I did not do much molecular science, but the lecturers and staff were really helpful. They made sure everyone was on the same level and there was always someone with whom you could speak to if you had any problems. Let's just say they are always there if you need help.

The course also focused on the business side as well, which was a nice change. We were also given lectures by people from the industry. All in all, I would have no hesitation in recommending this course to anyone seeking to develop their scientific knowledge, skills and enhance their career prospects.



More testimonials


Comments from potential employers (biotechnology companies)

This subject is currently undergoing massive expansion and yet qualified graduates are difficult to find. The industry as a whole would benefit from having a source of students with this qualification and from our point of view, such a course may provided candidates that are potentially useful to our company.



A course in cancer immunotherapy would provide valuable training for people wanting to seek a career in the biopharmaceutical industry where much of the research and development effort is focussed on targeted biological therapies for cancer.







Full course details

Course director

Dr Judith Ramage, Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, School of Medicine 


The MSc Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology is taught on a full-time basis over one year (September to late August). 

You will take 120 credits worth of taught modules, as well as a 60-credit research module which will enable you to experience contemporary research methods by designing a research programme and performing experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.

Module overview

This course requires you to complete the following taught modules:

  • Immunity and the Immune System
  • Molecular Basis of Cancer
  • Tumour Immunology
  • Cancer Immunotherapy 
  • Scientific Writing and Business Development
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • Host-Tumour Interface
  • Library Dissertation

Please note that all module details are subject to change.


How will I learn?

Course material is delivered in a variety of ways, including lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and problem-based learning sessions. The online MSc database provides a central point for students to access their timetables, assessment results and easy access to additional module resources provided by staff. Students will be expected to work independently, and as part of a group.

The Greenfield Medical Library houses a broadly based collection of biomedical, nursing and healthcare related books and periodicals and holds current subscriptions to 780 journals, reports and series titles. In addition to the print versions housed in the library, the majority of journals can be accessed electronically.


How will I be assessed?

The majority of modules are assessed by both written examinations and a combination of oral presentations, a practical and essays. The exceptions to this are the library dissertation, the research project and the scientific writing and business development modules where there are no written examinations. The library dissertation is assessed by a thesis and an oral presentation. The scientific writing and business development module is assessed by a business plan. The research project is assessed by a research paper, practical work and viva voce.


Who teaches on the course?

The MSc Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology is coordinated by academic staff within the Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, which is located within Nottingham City Hospital. In addition, lectures are given by individuals working in industry, and from other members of academic staff in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.


What support is available?

A welcome reception and series of induction sessions are held at the commencement of the course to disseminate key course documentation to introduce students to key staff and inform them of the University-wide and course pastoral and social support mechanisms, how to use library resources, email and computing resources.

Each student is also allocated a personal tutor within two weeks of starting the MSc, and they are required to have at least two documented meetings per semester. The personal tutors are members of academic staff within the school, and are available for both academic guidance and pastoral care. Conversations are always confidential, unless it is jointly agreed that others need to be contacted.

Each module has a convenor that is responsible for all matters concerning that particular module.

Project supervisors are assigned to each student for the research project.

Students are requested to elect a representative to liaise between the course co-ordinator and the class.

The School of Medicine has strong IT facilities. These range from school-only resources to resources provided by central University for all University of Nottingham students.

In addition to this support, the University provides central services in the form of counselling, academic support and student guidance. The International Office provides additional resources for overseas students.





Autumn semester

C93IIS Immunity and the Immune System

This 10 credit module provides an overview of the mechanisms and concepts underpinning the science of Immunology and Allergy.

A34C01 Molecular Basis of Cancer

This 20 credit module is made up of a series of lectures giving students an in-depth understanding of normal cell regulatory mechanisms and how these are altered during the carcinogenic process.
This module includes:

  • DNA structure and function
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes
  • Molecular biology of the cell cycle
  • Chromosome abnormalities in human cancer
  • Familial cancer syndromes.
A34C12 Tumour Immunology

This 10 credit module gives an overview of immunological approaches to cancer immunotherapy and immunological mechanisms and how these may be used to optimise therapeutic approaches.

  • Anti-tumour Antibody Responses
  • Cellular Anti-tumour Immunity
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • CAR and redirected T Cell therapies
  • Cytokine Therapy
  • Immune evasion by tumours
CI4CV1 Cancer Immunotherapy

This 20 credit module is made up of a series of lectures and discussion groups providing information on cancer vaccines. Topics include: what makes a good vaccine; different vaccine designs; animal models and immunological techniques. This module will cover subjects that have been introduced on the tumour immunology module in more depth.

CI4SB2 Scientific writing and business development

The 20 credit module focuses on the commercialism of research with lectures also on intellectual property. Invited speakers from industry will contribute to this module. In addition, students will learn how to write a business plan on a cancer immunotherapy concept. Students will work in groups to represent individuals in a company and they will develop their own novel concept and write a business plan.


Spring Semester

CI4MA3 Monoclonal antibodies

This 20 credit module will provide information on the generation of monoclonal antibodies, clinical trials involving antibodies and the future uses of antibody therapy in cancer prevention.

CI4HT4 Host Tumour Interface

This 20 credit module will highlight the current understanding of the immunobiology of tumours. This will include the following topics: immunosurveillance, tumour resistance, regulatory T cells. antigenic targets, cytokine therapy, non-specific immunity and animal models.

A34C10 Cancer Statistics and Epidemiology

The aim of this 10 credit module is to give students an understanding of the principles underlying the design and analysis of epidemiological studies and clinical trials. Topics will include: study design, bias and confounding, sampling variation, summarising and presenting data, measures of effect, hypothesis testing (t-test, chi-squared test), survival and longitudinal data, meta-analysis, non-parametric methods, correlation, introduction to multivariate regression analysis, screening, sample size and power.

Students will have the ability to use a range of routinely available statistical sources for clinical research, and to describe and explain concepts fundamental to clinical research of all kinds. They will be able to describe, interpret and appraise the applicability of statistical methods used in a wide range of clinical and biological research.

This module is assessed by a 1500-2000 report (30%) and a one and a half hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (70%).

A34MO4 MSc Research Project

The research project is worth 60 credits. It will be undertaken on a tumour immunology related subject and will allow the student to learn the practical and intellectual skills necessary for scientific investigation. The student will also gain experience in project management and acquire more specialised skills related to the project. Students may be able to perform their projects in industrial placements. The module is assessed on progress reports (practical skills), an oral presentation and a write-up in the style of a scientific paper.

Examples of previous research projects:

  • Production of a monoclonal antibody that kills ovarian cancer cells
  • An anti-endothelial vaccine targeting endothelin receptor B
  • Modulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor signalling on human dendritic cells to improve anti-cancer immune responses
  • Generation of recombinant ligand Fc fusion proteins to co-stimulate CD55 on T cells
  • Microencapsulation of Hepatitis B surface antigen protein and DNA using supercritical fluid technology
  • Perturbation of MAPK signalling pathways following exposure of dendritic cells to melanoma lysates
  • Identification of antigen specific T regulatory epitopes
  • Regulation of IL12, IL23 & IL27 gene expression in dendritic cells by malignant melanoma
  • Interleukin (IL)- 27 modifies CD28 and CD55 mediated costimulation of naïve CD4+ T cells
  • Tumour-mediated regulation of dendritic cell interaction with lymphendothelium
  • Investigation of the effect of IL17 on MMP2 & 9 in breast cancer
  • Antigen specific generation of Tr1
  • Immune responses to tumour associated antigens in cancer
  • The role of CD55 in mouse colorectal cancer
  • Analysis of the tumour suppressor LIMD1 in breast cancer
  • Investigation of encapsulated tetanus toxoid antigen to generate a single-dose vaccine to tetanus

 More Details about all the modules.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

Home/EU students

Several scholarships for home/EU students may be available from the School of Medicine.

The Graduate School website at The University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding. 

Please also visit the online funding database.

Government loans for masters courses

Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

The MSc Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology attracts students who are interested in pursuing a career in academia and also those who wish to enter the pharmaceutical industry.

Graduates from our course have gone on to do the following:

  • PhD at the University of Oxford
  • PhD at The University of Nottingham
  • PhD at the University of Birmingham
  • PhD at the University of Leeds
  • Work for Medimmune (Worldwide biologics business of AstraZeneca)
  • Research technicians
  • Postgraduate medicine programs
  • Patent lawyer
  • Recruitment consultant

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from  careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 95.7% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The median starting salary was £28,625 with the highest being £76,001.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

The Graduate Market 2013–2019, High Fliers Research



This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology MSc
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Division of Cancer and Stem Cells
School of Medicine
The University of Nottingham
B Floor, Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH
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